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Typically, we stick to our areas of competence. And certainly, it’s good to know when a task is beyond our paygrade. But our growth also requires situations that overwhelm us. Competence develops through incompetence.

Some things we can only learn by going through them.

For example, no amount of premarital counseling, books, or classes can prepare us for all the challenges of marriage. While these resources are helpful and strongly recommended, only marriage can truly prepare us for marriage.

The same is true of parenting, entering a new profession, or starting your own business.

Without discounting any helpful advice, in the end, only the lived experience of your new reality can teach you how to live well in this new reality.

And this is where we must humbly accept being overwhelmed in our incompetence. We must first be bad at something in order to eventually be good at it.

This is how we learn to walk. We’re first bad at it before becoming good – many shaky first steps on a path of wobbly growth.

But it seems fear and shame soon get the best of us. Maybe we’re more aware of the risk and want to avoid failure. Or perhaps the shame of not knowing and being seen as incompetent is too much for us to bear.

Whatever the case, our growth is stunted whenever we hold back from opportunities that take us to our edge and beyond.

It’s scary, unpredictable, and often very disorienting to step into a new reality. And initially we are overwhelmed as we struggle to gain our bearings.

But eventually we find our footing and our initial clumsiness gives way to a more settled inner strength.

We know we have what it takes, but we must first embrace a period of being overwhelmed.

Don’t let this stop you.

Let courage guide you as you step into new realities and discover a new level of strength.

Dr. Corey Carlisle

Licensed marriage and family therapist and certified sex therapist - providing Christian counseling and soul care to individuals and couples, with a special emphasis on developing the masculine soul. Suwanee, GA 30024

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